Jaen Province – Andújar – Stuff to See

Andújar is a historical town of about 40,000 in the province of Jaen, about forty minutes on the train from the regional capital.

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First impressions were not good as work put me up at the unremarkable Hotel del Val on a retail park about twenty minutes’ walk from the old centre, but I don’t mind a bit of a walk so that was ok.

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Most of the town is new build although it has retained the original Medieval street plan in the centre. The maze of streets take a bit of getting used to.

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Here’s my Google map to help you.

There are some old buildings still standing though. Some of the walls of the original Almohad (Moorish) citadel and the odd watchtower still remain. This one was refaced in the fifteenth century to include the city’s coat of arms.

The heart of the town is Plaza de Espania, and its extension Plaza Constitucion, which are separated by this arch.

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Here you’ll find the Ayuntemiento (town hall) and the Iglesia de San Miguel with its sturdy tower.

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The worn stone carvings on the ancient doorway of the church depict some interesting figures.

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Next to the church is a memorial to a local priest martyred in the sixteenth century and the Fuente Barroca, a baroque fountain (built in 1739) that’s seen better days.

A couple of streets away is Iglesia Santa Maria la Major which houses an original El Greco, although it was never open when I walked by.

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Next to it is the Torre de Reloj, a clock tower which is a symbol of the city.

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On one side of the tower is an impressive imperial shield, which incorporates the coats of arms of the Trastámara and the Habsburgs on the right, and the Avis, the lineages of Emperor Charles V and his wife Isabel of Portugal, on the left. A stone sundial sits next to the shield.

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Currently, the tower houses the Tourist Information Office of Andujar. The tower houses the tourist information on the ground floor (open 9.00 to 14.00 Tuesday to Saturday, and also 16.30 to 19.00 Tuesday to Friday).

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On the other side of Iglesia Santa Maria is this Neogothic chapel, built in 1925.

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Also of interest is the Palacio de los Ninos with its unusual statues of two South American Indians on its front aspect.

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The Archaeology museum is located in the cellar which is supposed to be very impressive (open 9.00 to 14.00 Tuesday to Friday, and also 12.30 to 19.00 Saturday to Sunday), although again I wasn’t free at the right time to go.

Various other old town houses are dotted around with their impressive thick wooden doors.

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On the front wall of Palacio de los Perez de Vargas y Gormaz (aka La Casa de las Argollas) you can see four iron rings with little heads wearing hats. The tourist blurb said that these were put up after the Esqilache Uprising when Spaniards rose up against one of the king’s ministers who had decreed that long capes and broad brimmed hats were to be forbidden as they were associated with criminality, a bit like our modern day hoodies.

The town was celebrating the Pilgrimage of the Virgen de la Cabeza, which is held on the last Sunday of the month of April. Horses are decorated and displayed in the town centre.

The image of the Virgin is displayed everywhere.

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Please see the next post for places to eat.

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